New Hong Kong Treasury building to carry HK$2.3bn price tag
Opposition legislator calls the project ‘reasonable’, commends government for including public services in the building plan
The Hong Kong government has revealed it will spend about HK$2.3 billion on a new office building that will house nine government departments, according to paperwork filed with the city’s legislature.
The proposed Treasury building at the junction of Tung Chau Street and Tonkin Street West, opposite the West Kowloon Law Courts Building, will also house a general outpatient clinic, a 100-place child care centre and a 40-place senior centre, according to the papers submitted to the Legislative Council’s panel on financial affairs on Monday.
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The panel will discuss the plan at a meeting next Monday, before the government submits the funding application to Legco’s Finance Committee in May or June.
Panel member Wu Chi-wai, of the opposition Democratic Party, said the government had taken legislators’ advice to include facilities for public services in the building.
“I think this is reasonable,” Wu said. “The building should be more than just government offices. There should be spaces to cater to public needs.”
The project, expected to be completed by 2022, is one of nine buildings to rehouse 28 departments and the judiciary – with more than 10,000 staff – from the Wan Chai Government Offices Compound. The government planned to use the Wan Chai site for developing convention and exhibition venues, hotel facilities and prime office space.
Among the nine departments in the Cheung Sha Wan building, three – the Labour Department, the Registration and Electoral Office and Hongkong Post’s delivery office – will be relocated from private premises.
According to the paper, relocating government offices leasing private properties can save an estimated HK$28 million (US$3.6 million) annual rent.
The building will provide an “operational floor area”, excluding public spaces and facilities, of about 285,000 sq ft.
It will provide other facilities such as staff lactation rooms, baby care rooms, a public art area, facilities for the disabled, and 65 parking spaces for staff and visitors.
Wu said the cost of the project was comparable to similar government projects.
“I can’t see [lawmakers] having big issues with the proposal,” Wu said.
But he said he would like the government to explain whether the number of parking spaces was enough because the site was 10 minutes away from the nearest MTR stations.
“There is a clinic, a child care centre and an elderly care centre in the building,” Wu said. “There may be some citizens who would need to drive there.”